The Benefits of Traveling
Seeing Beautiful Sights Is Only One Part of The Adventure.
I recently took a cruise to Brazil, which was a fantastic experience. I got to step out of my comfort zone, explore new places, try fresh food, and see stunning scenery. But the trip's best part was meeting new people—like...Troy and Jamie, Maureen and Peter, Linda and Mike. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and took something home from our encounters.
Troy and Jamie taught me about the border battles in Texas and the effects on their day-to-day lives. A successful, self-made man, Troy taught me that hard work, persistence, and believing in yourself are the keys to success. Jamie and I laughed a lot and drank wine 😊 I learned that Peter gets up every morning to feed his cows, sheep, and other animals on his large farm, and he still loves it even at 75. Maureen and I bonded over shared similar experiences, and she taught me about nature journaling. Mike invited us (Bruce and I) to join his birthday celebration with a few other couples. We had a ton of fun celebrating Mike. I discovered that Linda and Mike love to travel and have been on as many as 30 cruises. So, it was fun picking their brains on where to travel next.
Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone
For someone afraid of heights, enclosed spaces, and being trapped, this trip was a challenge for me.
I woke up in a sweat on my first night on the ship. Even though it was a reasonably small cruise ship (a Viking excursion ship with 378 passengers), panic rushed through my body. My heart raced while my brain said, I want to get off the boat…Now! I was trapped on a ship and couldn't get off. I took many deep breaths and eventually overcame a full-blown panic attack.
After a few days, I got used to the ebb and flow of the ship and, at times, found the rocking comforting. I walked outside the boat, staring at the vast ocean and reveling in its wonder-like beauty.
It took my breath away at times.
During the cruise, we visited: French Guiana, Belem Brazil, Recife Brazil; Salvador de Bahia, Brazil; Armacao dos Buzios Brazil; Rio De Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. I gained a much deeper understanding of the South American way of life--more than I ever could from reading about it in a book.
There were times in Brazil when the police followed our tour group everywhere. That was a little concerning to me. We got a lot of stares and smiles. Some of the living conditions reminded me of India. A lot of poverty. One seaside market (Belem) was filled with vendors selling handmade products made from wood and ceramic. Pieces of meat, cages of chickens, and fresh fish being chopped up were just one of the sights. Bowls of Acai fruit were everywhere. This is what the locals eat every day.
I learned that the first inhabitants of Brazil were indigenous "Indians" ("Indios" in Portuguese). The slave trade and Portuguese explorers eventually arrived. A tour guide told me there is no such thing as one culture. "We are a melting pot...a combination of Portuguese, African, and Indian heritage and are proud of it."
I think traveling is essential to developing a well-rounded perspective on the world. Through our interactions with new people and exposure to different cultures, we can learn empathy and appreciate the extraordinary diversity of humanity. So get out there and explore! You won't regret it.